What Can We Learn From The Wolf’s Immune System?
Mimicking aspects of the wolf’s lifestyle can lead to a dramatically improved immune system, resilience, and quality of life.
Wolves, like most wild animals whose immune systems are intact, almost never get sick – even a cold. Sporadic viral outbreaks like rabies can be transmitted by other species, but don’t linger in wild populations. Wolves live on average six to eight years in the wild, possibly up to 13 years in protected areas, with the most common cause of death being starvation or battle injuries. However, the extra longevity awarded by protection and domesticity has a tailspin effect on their health and life quality.
Modern dogs deal with allergies, kidney disease, dementia, Cushing’s disease, degenerate heart valve disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoarthritis, pancreatitis, dental infections, and a host of other chronic complications that their ancestors had no idea about.
The same goes for us, humans.
Modern comforts have trapped us in the middle of a multi-millennial poodle transformation, call it poodleification, which has been eroding our immune system since the beginning of agriculture.
Before the poodle began a relatively safe and long life under its human masters, getting fed regularly in relatively predictable circumstances (aside from its slightly unpredictable masters), it was a wolf.
What made the wolf a wolf was not its genes (the same as poodle’s) but a set of unsafe, unstable, unpredictable, and nutrient-scarce circumstances that forced her to move with intermittent, high-intensity bursts, running uphill instead of the treadmill, adapting to the constantly changing elements, occasionally bursting out in attack or defense, then settling down to chill, rest, procreate and play.
The wolf’s beauty, strength, and resilience were transmuted into a sickly furball whose gig consists entirely of pleasing humans to secure the next bowl of compressed bricks.
The gentle slide into a vastly less resilient species took less than 20 short millennia – for both wolves and humans.
The good news is that by merely mimicking some aspects of our wild ancestors, we can vastly improve our own life quality, strengthen our immune system and overall resistance.
Set, Setting, Short Circuit
Compared to the wolf, we have plenty of mental stressors and few physical discomforts in modern life, so it’s legitimate to argue that we poodleify at double the canine rate.
Our default physical comfort level is so high, in fact, that we choose to pay membership fees to mimic temporary discomfort.
Take the cement bunker, aka gym, featuring bad air and head-to-toe insulation from Earth’s natural fields, where we both look and feel miserable while repeating the same patterns of interaction with lumps of lead or metal. Even the trainers here are sad and hardly ever in perfect shape, told to smile at us with stewardess type leers when they come to point out an angle adjustment in how we lift junk up.
A wolf would never lift junk or hit a gym just to stay fit. She moves with natural exercise bursts that help build up more resistance than a set of mechanical yanks can in a singular state of depression.
The mindset in which we expel physical energy matters.
Hunting (for sights and experiences), playing, or prancing in the wild is going to get you fitter and happier. Treadmill and mechanical repetition are more likely to give you a heart attack.
The physical setting – nature vs. outdoors – is also critical. Exposure to the sun is a prerequisite to over 70 percent of vitamin D production, for example, which is essential to our immune system, lungs, and cardiovascular system.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can quadruple in a room with closed windows, leading to ever less benign forms of hypercapnia (carbon dioxide toxicity) – starting with headaches, vertigo, double vision, blurriness, tinnitus – and leading to suffocation and heart damage.
Lack of oxygen becomes apparent in only a few short minutes. We’re supposed to be inhaling about 21 percent of oxygen (the amount in fresh air) and 0.04 percent of CO2. Anything less than 19.5 percent oxygen leads to a slow death, according to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Agency) – an equation that’s hard to maintain indoors or in polluted environments.
We exhale 16 percent oxygen and four percent CO2, a mix that we don’t want to inhale again due to closed spaces or other filters (such as out-of-control mask safety regulations).
Then there is grounding, the effects of which are harder to quantify since there are no proper studies on this topic. However, it’s easy to test yourself.
Time your most extended plank position in a gym on a rubber mat – excellent insulation material – and then do the same sans insulation – shoes, or mats – somewhere in nature, in short circuit with the dirt. Divide the insulation vs. non-insulation time measurements to get a multiplier for the relative energy difference between a grounded and a non-grounded exercise setting.
The Pentagon would kill for a “magic pill” that gives their soldiers a twenty to thirty percent boost – a level of improvement that is reasonably common with proper grounding.
Grounding not only energizes, but it also counters the effects of oxidative stress (both mental and chemical), the primary cellular damage that accrues from a stressful lifestyle, and contributes to chronic disease.
The wolf’s paws are plugged continuously into this antioxidant power source, an ocean of electrons that pop free radicals like toy balloons, making sure she is tuned up for the next battle, operating at high energy constant.
Where do we get the best grounding, then?
The likelihood is that you’ve already been there, wondering where all the extra juice just came from.
Go back there!
It’s a matter of listening to the body.
Trainers and doctors don’t teach us to listen to the body, unfortunately. When they say “listen to your body,” they mean “follow your prescription” or “stick to this routine.” Most of the time, they see us as the smiley characters from the Traveling Safely leaflet. You know, the one who is smiling while jumping out of a burning airliner.
This is why we get the same diagnosis, protocol, prescription, and routine from the experts – even though we are entirely unique and different from each other energetically.
The Worrying Mind
A wolf doesn’t worry too much, either. It socializes and chills in between the breaks, makes love, plays, and howls. It expends very little energy worrying about what other wolves think of its haircut or Louis Vuitton bag.
The wolf reserves fight-or-flight response exclusively for the real deal.
Most human stress hormones come from rumination – from predicaments that either don’t exist yet or existed in the past but could resurface again in the future – meted out over 24/7/365.
We worry about money, health, look, relationships, jobs, and the future. We also worry about how we come across to our peers, who, in turn, are spending their time worrying about something else.
Have you ever come across a person who seems to live a perfectly healthy lifestyle – nitpicky with foods and habits, sorting supplements in special pillboxes – yet seems to come down with one illness after another? That’s what constant worrying can do to us.
Repetitive worry keeps the adrenaline and cortisol on a constant drip, diverting blood to the exteriors to prepare for (the non-existent physical) battle, shifting energy from basic life support functions (digestion, immune system, sex, brain…) to maximize the speed of the paw – that one we use to play with the cell phone.
Starting up the battle engine and then winding it down several times a day does more damage to the body, amp per amp, than any other known stressor, aside from ionizing radiation. In a self-sufficient energy system, this means that the juice needed to fix the damage has to come from somewhere else – usually at the expense of some essential life support function.
The extra energy drain will show up in our individual Achilles’ heel, first. Maybe the gut. The immune system. Sex drive. Amygdala. Skin. Kidney. Heart. And once that happens, we generally tend to seek advice from the doctor.
The cardiologist, nephrologist, dermatologist, neurologist, urologist, and the gastroenterologist will each proffer a different prognosis. They will know what’s going on in their area of expertise and prescribe medication specific to that part of the body. But they each hardly ever ask the other, very essential question.
Where Is The Connection?
I had one close call with a bacterial blood poisoning about 15 years ago when the doctor gave me a 72-hours-to-live prognosis, followed by the suggestion that “we” use an experimental antibiotic.
I couldn’t understand what the doctor was saying. I was under an attack by a vicious microbial organism, OK, got it. But was this bug causing my condition, or was something wrong with me or my defenses that allowed the bug to attack me?
It was too layman of a question. The doctor stared at me as if daffodils were growing out of my forehead.
Finally, I nodded yes to the antibiotics out of sheer fear. I hallucinated for three days and nights with a needle in my paw, dripping ice blue death into my biome. I survived, but nuking my bacterial balance undermined my resistance further.
There were more similar episodes over the next few years. Two more hospital trips, sudden lung infection, food poisonings, inflamed body parts, rashes, wounds that healed suspiciously slowly… increasingly random and entirely disconnected events, according to the doctors.
It took me half a decade of research to realize that everything about us depends on connection, not just between cells and organs, but between body, thoughts, and emotions – even between me and you and us and them.
Motivation alone works like a thrust lever on mitochondrial ATP production. A moment of doubt about ourselves, who we are, or what we’re supposed to be doing, can dip energy instantaneously. And that dip can cause feedback to our confidence level, a self-reinforcing cycle that continues the drain until our shape, appearance, and behavior become foreign.
In the medical world, we’re either “healthy” or “sick,” as if there is no grey area between them. The reality is that 100 percent of humanity lives in a constantly fluctuating energy cycle that operates somewhere in the grey zone.
We’re a grand collective of several hundred trillion microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, parasites), 37 trillion cells, 60.000 miles of arteries, 100.000 miles of veins, 90.000 miles of nerves, 640 skeletal muscles, 206 bones, 78 organs, seven brain parts, four limbs, a neck, and a head that exchange energy and information with varying degrees of efficiency.
The exchange happens through constructive and destructive wave interference, followed by much slower, chemical, molecular and cellular effects – all of which are intimately connected to our mindset and lifestyle.
In my case, the doctors concluded that I was repetitively attacked by bugs and aggressors that had to be destroyed with antibiotics or drugs. If I look at the episodes with some hindsight, another picture emerges.
At the time of the incidents, I had a disconnection with the place where I was living. And another disconnection with what I was doing. And a third disconnection with who I was doing it with. I was doing everything else “right,” or so I thought while reading alternative health gurus. Eating whole foods, good fats, avoiding sugar, exercising, detoxing, taking supplements – the whole shebang.
Turns out that the whole shebang doesn’t count when there is disconnection.
Disconnection is the primary driver of chronic stress, at least in my own experience.
Mitochondria, the proton-pumping, amp-charging organelles that produce 95 percent of our cellular fuel, take the first brunt of this disconnection – via stress hormones.
In my case, the extra energy drain showed up first in my particular Achilles heel: the immune system.
Hence the rashes, swellings, poisonings, and infections.
All connected – like lemons on a lemon tree.
The simple quest of looking for these connections has kept me free of chronic issues ever since.
How To Mimic the Wolf
We have one advantage over the wolf: we can influence our energy and degree of connection not just instinctively but also consciously.
First, we can mimic aspects of the wolf lifestyle that are energy positive – even without living permanently in the wild.
We can benefit from intermittent fasting, for example, without being constantly hungry. We can mimic hot and cold exposure that makes us more resilient to physical stressors. We can amp up on grounding, sunlight, and fresh air. We can eat less frequently, more healthy fats and proteins, and avoid sugar. We can reduce exposure to EMF via microwave gadgets. We can hydrate, sweat, and move more. We can place more emphasis on social connections, hang out with our extended kin. We can stop sterilizing everything in our path and build a healthier gut biome.
Second, we can steer away from places, people, projects, and beliefs that we’re not aligned with, to maximize our sense of connection, meaning, and purpose. The wolf doesn’t howl out of anxiety, but out of joy and belonging.
Third, we can stop chasing stability, security, comfort, and peer approval for their own sake. It’s a self-effacing goal that we never manage to reach in any case. Life is terminal, by design.
We don’t have to commit to a sudden, radical transformation to get a benefit. At some stage of the calibration process, even if it happens in baby steps, the old stress signals fail to rattle the cage the way they used to, giving us the confidence to take more risks, lay more trust in our own senses – leading to a positive feedback loop, more vitality, and less reliance on medical dogma.
The ultimate result is both longevity and life quality – the best of two worlds.